With the Frankfurt Book Fair just over two weeks away, some in the industry are feeling that it's a bit quiet on the deal-making front. Whether agents are waiting to announce their biggest deals closer to the fair (which starts on October 10), unveil their hottest goods during the three-day event, or the slow start bodes for a quiet show is still anyone's guess. In the meantime, some books are getting people talking. As we noted on Friday, a debut novel with a character loosely based on the lead singer of Bon Iver, Shotgun Lovesongs, has drawn some buzz. Also grabbing notice: the romance by Deborah McKinlay that recently sold to Grand Central, and a thriller called Girl With a Clock for a Heart that David Highfill at William Morrow just acquired.
McKinlay's That Part Was True sold for a rumored seven figures to Deb Futter, who pre-empted world rights in under 36 hours. The novel, which was pitched as a Bridges of Madison County-esque love story, follows the unexpected romance that blossoms between an agining woman (and self-described spinster) who lives outside of London and a successful American writer. McKinlay, who is British, is a journalist and has also written a number of nonfiction books. Agent Alexandra Machinist at Janklow and Nesbit, who sold the book, said that GCP has accepted pre-empts from Germany and Italy, and that a U.K. deal is about to close.
Another book sparking chatter is Peter Swanson's debut, Girl With a Clock for a Heart, which David Highfill at HarperCollins's William Morrow imprint bought in a two-book pre-empt. Nat Sobel at Sobel Weber sold the book, and Joel Gotler at IPG is handling the dramatic rights. The novel is about a man who sees his college sweetheart, who supposedly committed suicide, one night in a Boston bar 20 years after her she "died." Highfill said having a hero who is unable to resist "a woman he loved years ago--and may still love--despite the sizable risks, is a very enticing scenario," and added that "you can hear the echoes of Cain and Chandler" in the work.
The novel is being shopped in a similar manner to The Ghostman, another debut thriller that Sobel and Gotler shopped at last year's Frankfurt Book Fair (and which Gary Fisketjon bought). Ghostman also sold to Warner Brothers and anticipation for it was built, likely in part, by the sales approach: only 48 pages of the book were available at the fair. For Girl, pages are again being parsed out in segments, and Sobel said the next 50 pages of the novel will be sent to co-agents and scouts late next week. Thus far, a six figure deal on the book has closed in Italy and it was also acquired for a sizeable sum in Germany.